Lutein: Press Release: John Hopkins University, November 20, 2003
A substance found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks may improve
vision in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and other degenerative eye
conditions, according to a study published by a Johns Hopkins researcher,
whose subjects were recruited from the Internet and tested via e-mail.
Twelve of the 16 study participants with retinal degenerative conditions
reported that taking daily supplements of the substance, called lutein,
over a six-month period significantly improved their vision. Lutein is an
antioxidant needed by the retina (the light-sensitive layer in the back of
the eye) to neutralize the damaging effects of short wavelength light and
free radicals. Study results were published in the March issue of
Optometry: Journal of the American Optometrist Association.
Study participants were recruited after a member of an international
retinal degeneration patient e-mail list noted that several of her
electronic pen pals said their vision improved after adding lutein
supplements to their diets. She then asked Gislin Dagnelie, Ph.D., an
assistant professor of ophthalmology at Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, for
help in designing vision tests for a study of the supplement.
See All LifeSource Vitamins Lutein Products, Articles and,
The subjects took lutein supplements with breakfast every day for six
months, 40 mg/day for nine weeks and 20 mg/day thereafter. Half of the
participants also took 500 mg/day of DHA (a fatty acid found in fish oil),
vitamin B complex and digestive enzymes. Ten of the participants who
already were taking vitamin A and/or beta carotene continued to take those
supplements. They tested their vision on eye charts sent as e-mail
attachments and on wall charts they were instructed to create, and returned
data via weekly e-mails to the study coordinators.
Besides the increase in visual acuity and visual field size among most
patients, the researchers noticed that blue-eyed participants had
substantially higher gains in vision than dark-eyed participants. In
addition, those who took vitamin A and/or beta carotene supplements prior
to the study seemed to benefit more than those who did not. The long-term
effects of lutein supplements on the progression of RP should be studied,
Dagnelie says, and may explain the results seen in this study.
Find: Lutein works for numerous people and can help restore stronger
eyesight and prevent eye health deterioration.
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